Renesas adds powerline communication to Synergy platform

October 20, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Renesas Electronics has applied an adaptation of its powerline communication (PLC) modem technology to the Renesas Synergy Platform, a complete and qualified platform with fully integrated software, a scalable family of microcontrollers (MCUs), and unified development tools for embedded and IoT applications.

The adaptation includes the launch of a Verified Software Add-on (VSA) with the G3-PLC protocol stack. Smart applications, Renesas notes, are getting increasingly complex, with implications for development, porting, maintenance, and purchase of relevant software packages such as RTOS, drivers, and higher layer firmware as well as protocol stacks for connectivity solutions. Renesas’ single-chip powerline modem solution, in combination with the Synergy Platform, removes many of the obstacles engineers face when designing smart meters or similar smart products.

At the heart of the Synergy Platform is the Synergy Software Package (SSP), which is qualified, supported, warranted, and maintained by Renesas. Specialized software functions may be added to the SSP without any guesswork using VSA components that are verified by Renesas to be SSP-compatible. System designers can start their G3-PLC based development straight away at the API level using this VSA for G3-PLC in combination with all other elements of the required profile from the SSP and additional VSAs to develop any of the G3-PLC based applications.

Depending on the performance level required for the final product, system designers can select from a range of scalable and compatible host Synergy MCUs ranging from ARM Cortex M0+ (32 MHz /128 kB flash/16 kB SRAM) up to AR Cortex® M4 (240 Mhz/4 MB flash/640 kB SRAM). The combination of Synergy MCUs with Renesas’ third generation single-chip PLC modem allows engineers to create a modular, flexible, and cost-optimised system design. Any modifications or redesigns required can be carried out in a cost efficient manner, reducing development, testing and certification effort, as well as risk, to a minimum. This enables system designers to achieve unparalleled time-to-market, and spend more time on innovation and differentiation.

Renesas’ flexible single-chip PLC modem solution supports any PLC protocol standard such as PRIME 1.3.6 and PRIME1.4 with full band coverage, as well as G3-PLC, for all global frequency bands including CENELEC A, FCC, and ARIB. With regards to more complex IoT applications, the solution enables system designers to implement dual route communication. Signal quality, a wide dynamic range and its unique noise immunity are provided by the embedded analogue front end and enhanced DSP algorithms, which can handle dedicated wide spread noise profiles.